Last week, I gave out prizes in a local Poetry competition run by a creative writing group I’ve been associated with for more years than I care to remember. I was really interested in the post on Balaclava a little while back about some creative writing groups not being very friendly but, thankfully, this group is and when I was unable to judge a couple of recent competitions, I had no hesitation in suggesting other poets, knowing they would be made very welcome.
The members have always had great enthusiasm for their writing and take it seriously but that doesn’t mean they can’t absorb those who write for their own pleasure, because they can and do, so any visitor gets a really unique view of a tiny part of the writing life of a small community. I find this totally interesting.
The group itself was started over 40 years ago by a friend of mine, who, because of her isolation as a writer, was inspired to put a small advert in the local paper and book a room at the library. My heart almost stopped when I saw that advert, I was so excited. I went to the first meeting and got there early. There were only three of us in the group for months and months but it was just so brilliant to be able to discuss writers, writing and what you were working on. I would tremble when it came to reading aloud from my current work, so anxious was I to hear what they thought.
I think, in some way, the Balaclava group and Electric Authors serve the same purpose as my two writer friends did all that time ago. It lessens the sense of isolation that can so easily be a part of a writer’s life and the advice given and received is invaluable. I often think how thrilled those three fledgling writers would have been to have had access to the Internet.
Because of it, lovely things happen to writers, as well as the less lovely. In 1995, I wrote a poem called THE GRACE OF LOVE, and it was published in a couple of magazines. A few weeks ago, I had an e-mail asking if I was the writer of this poem because it had my name on it. But, it wasn’t quite as simple as that, for the writer’s mother had the same name as mine and had kept and loved the poem for years. Her son knew she hadn’t written it, thus the enquiry. He told me his mother had died and had asked for this poem to be read at her funeral and I was really touched by this. The family lived in America so my poem had travelled from this country to that.
I’m just about to put another book on Kindle – FOX FIRE – which I wrote years ago and which I’ve up-dated. (Does anyone else do this?) It’s about the different attitudes to foxes from a boy who keeps hens and a girl who sees them as beautiful wild animals and how the two children clash because of this. The fox we know best has a lame leg but I’m hoping that the first snow will see firm paw imprints and not the dot dash and carry ones we saw last year.